Early research has shown great potential in the ability of probiotics to help control the immune responses that cause redness, inflammation, and raised skin associated with acne and rosacea.
While Internet users and bloggers such as the writer of health and lifestyle blog Frivolous Girl have touted the benefits of probiotic acne treatment for many years, there was little scientific support. Now, studies and theories on what probiotics can do to prevent inflammation are beginning to reopen.
Probiotics are living organisms such as bacteria or yeast that aid your bodily processes. The largest colony of probiotics in your body exists in your digestive system. The bacteria in colonies like these are essential in breaking down substances that enter your body, including solid food, liquid, and even other bacteria.
They grow naturally inside the body, but for various reasons, their population may shrink. When probiotic presence is low, bodily functions like digestion and immune system action become more difficult for your body to undergo. To combat this, you can eat foods rich with naturally-occurring probiotics, take supplements, or use probiotic-enhanced topical treatments.
The Role of Probiotics in Acne and Rosacea
Acne and rosacea are largely related – they both cause cosmetic damage to the skin as a result of an autoimmune response – and the effect of probiotics on the two conditions is believed to be similar. The newest area of research in probiotic acne and rosacea applications aims to determine how effective topical probiotic treatments can be at reducing the onset of inflammation following an event that may trigger an immune system response.
The studies hypothesize that probiotics can have the following effects:
· • Antimicrobial Power – Substances naturally emitted by probiotics have the potential to eat through other microorganisms that may be causing harm to the body. If the strains of bacteria that create these substances are identified, they can be harnessed for inflammation treatment.
· • Bacterial Interference – Probiotics may be capable of preventing the body from triggering inflammation when it detects a foreign microorganism on the skin's surface. The good bacteria fights bad bacteria and parasites without exciting your immune system.
· • Cell Response Prevention – When cells membranes are excited by invading organisms, the cells send signals to the immune system to attack the invaders. Probiotics have a calming effect on these cells and could prevent acne and rosacea from flaring.
A few studies in Korea and Italy have lent credibility to the Brain-Gut-Skin theory, which argues that negative emotions such as anxiety and stress compromise the effectiveness of the digestive system and the probiotic populations within it. Poor digestion, in turn, weighs heavily on the health of skin.
In accordance with the brain-gut-skin theory, some medical professionals suggest adding probiotics to a healthy diet in conjunction with lifestyle changes that promote minimal stress.
Since research is so young, Whitney P. Bowe, MD recommends that "patients with acne or rosacea see their dermatologist to talk about adding foods with live active cultures, such as yogurt, to their diets or taking an oral probiotic supplement daily."